London Light Leaks – Joseph Birdsey

Joseph Birdsey is an amateur writer and photographer, living in South East London. He tweets as @flaregun. A directory of this work can be found at

London Light Leaks

These photos were accidental. By which I mean the light leaks that give the (otherwise fairly dull) compositions their appeal are accidental, and were the result of the back of my camera (a Pentax k1000) popping open when I dropped it. I guess what interests me the most about film photography is that it seems like a deliberate step back. To put it pompously, it’s sort of a deliberate reintroduction of the variables and imperfections which have been ironed out by technological advances in the field.

This philosophy was popularised by the Lomography movement, which was huge when I started messing around with cameras. It seems trite to say it now, but I’ve always thought that the appeal of the Lomography cameras and techniques was the way that they seemed to undercut how quickly digital camera technology was (and is) advancing: perhaps it was never quite so explicit in their manifesto, but that’s how I’ve always seen it.

I’ve always experimented with different tools and techniques when it comes to photography. This is partly down to being a naturally curious person, but also due to budget restrictions. Never having much money to spend on expensive photography equipment has forced me to explore using less-conventional tricks to introduce these ‘variables’ myself, whether it’s been a prism in front of my phone camera, hacked together lens adapters, or out-of-date film.

With these five images however, it was never my aim to use any experimental technique to give them an edge. I just happened to drop my camera, exposing the film for a few seconds, before I closed it again and carried on shooting. Isn’t it quite nice to be reminded that, in spite of what you may have been planning, accidents can produce even nicer results?






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